Celebrations started on the 3rd of May when around thirty participants from previous long retreats gathered together to practice the long Chod. With its hauntingly beautiful melodies, Chod is one of the most profound and entrancing Buddhist practices. The effect of all practitioners joining together was quite spectacular - a fitting tribute to a truly special being.
On the morning of Monday the 6th of May a temple full of Rinpoche’s devoted sangha and students joined together to chant the 'Prayer to the 16 Elders' and make the traditional offerings of body, speech and mind. A mandala offering was made by Lama Zangmo and Lama Rinchen before Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche offered the symbols of Body, Speech, Mind, Qualities and Activity. All those in attendance then offered a Kata to the Buddha and Akong Tulku Rinpoche while Kating Lama and Tulku Orgyen Rinpoche led us in reciting Akong Rinpoche's long life prayers.
A special birthday lunch was held in the dining room where Rinpoche was joined by many friends and family for birthday speeches and cake!
The day ended with Akong Rinpoche bestowing the Vajrasattva initiation, during which Rinpoche gave a heart-warming and inspiring dharma talk encouraging all those present to be mindful of how they act with body, speech and mind.
We hope that everyone who attended enjoyed the celebrations as much as we did and hope to see you all again next year!